This review will be biased because I'm a huge lover of crime anime and with seemingly so few out there it feels great to have one easily accessible on Netflix. However, that doesn't excuse the major plot-holes and the extremely disappointing ending.
Yes I'm being generous but hey, there's a lot of good ideas here. The overall premise captures the mystery of the mask and the mask's abilities quite well. In this season I enjoyed the addition of Tina's story as well as her budding friendship with James. And if they had actually concluded the setup of the Special Service of Crime (SSC) versus the
regular Capitol Police Department branches and a new evil in the ranks of the SSC, the show could've been well respected. But instead Hiroyasu Aoki leaves the viewer with many unanswered questions and too many "almost" death scenes.
One of the reasons the show is ending now is that it can't keep up with how labor intensive it is to make Hero Mask. Aoki focuses on faced-paced editing which I think works to the show's advantage. But, alas, it proved to be too expensive for Pierrot. Overall, very well done and pretty impressive.
The soundtrack for Hero Mask is pretty much nonexistent. The OP is a dramatic orchestral piece and that's really all you get for music. But I'm giving Hero Mask a 10/10 for sound because of the amazing sound mixing. Everything from the combat noises, punches and kicks to explosions and gunshots were implemented beautifully.
James Blood is your classic American hero and never lets down the audience with his quit wit. Though, in all fairness, the beloved character does not have much of a backstory or that is to say, any.
Then one of the most fleshed out characters (and my personal favorite), Harry Creighton, has undeniably the worst character in cinematic history. Okay.. Perhaps an overstatement but the audience doesn't even know he's dead until another character mentions it in passing.
James and Harry's relationship is never explained, from the first season it hinted at a lot more than just two men who worked together, a friendship. But who knows ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Also who is the man the new commander was conspiring with ?!?
I loved all the characters at their surface level because that's all that was available to the audience.
I have to be honest, I loved every minute of this series. I can easily get sucked into the world Hiroyasu Aoki created. But I was bitterly disappointed by the ending.
For an anime that wasn't based on a manga I would say it's a very good attempt at an original anime. Given it had more writers and editors before creation it probably would've been much more successful. Even with it's many downfalls I do hope there is a Hero Mask sequel series or movie in the future
Hero mask is an anime that doesnt feel like an anime. Hero mask is like watching a good sci-fi action movie thriller, besides the anime is really entertaining to watch it has major plot holes and i would like to split the anime in two parts to review it easily.
First Season (First 15 episodes)
The first season is an immersive thriller that hook you from the first episode. The developing of the story and the mistery is very well paced, the cast introduction and their motivations is well presented, but i have a major problem with one character: Harry Creighton, we only see few flashbacks of
his backstory and his motivations but we never see how Harry and James how their relationship worked or how their "friendship" was built and for me that relationship was wasted. The final episode was only an excuse to take out 2 side characters from the main story, also for me 2 wasted characters. Overall the flaws and the plot holes the action scenes, the animation, the sound mixing were great and made it very entertaining to watch (7/10)
Second Season (Last 9 episodes)
The second season continues with the mask mistery and introduces new characters to the story. The problem with this season is that doesnt answers all the questions presented in the first season, the pace is rushed, some characters were forgotten (*cough Sarah Sinclair *cough) we dont know anything about some characters like the conspiracy man behind all the problems or the new director of the SEC or even the professor (how he escaped from the asylum?). This season has major plot holes, characters were killed just for the cause, characters personality changed just for the cause made a very disappointing second season. Besides the many downfalls the action scenes and the "conclussion" of the masks mystery is worth watching (6/10)
In conclussion besides all its flaws and not being based on a manga, Hero Mask is a decent anime with good action sequences, very aesthetic and a good mystery plot. So if you are looking for a decent police sci-fi thriller give Hero Mask a try. I hope they released a movie or an OVA explaining in a better way the ending but after all i give Hero Mask a solid 7/10